Vladimir Putin: A Plea for Caution From Russia (New York Times)
The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not. Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression…
No one doubts that poison gas was used in Syria. But there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.
Andrew Levine: From Russia Without Love (CounterPunch)
The use of chemical nerve-agents in combat is banned under international law, as well it should be. The many horrific weapons that have come on line since the First World War – among others, bombers, cruise missiles, chemicals that burn human skin, depleted uranium shells and, of course, weaponized drones should be banned as well…
There is, it seems, good, but inconclusive, evidence that the Syrian government did indeed violate the chemical warfare ban. There is also evidence that some of the rebel groups fighting the government did too. It bears notice that they have much to gain if the world, or at least Americans and Europeans, think that their hands are clean, and that Assad is guilty as sin.
In any case, Obama’s plan was to launch an unprovoked and unsanctioned war against Syria, a sovereign state.
According to the 1945 Nuremburg Charter, initiating a war of aggression is “the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
In other words, Obama wanted to punish a possible war crime by committing a far graver one.
Would arming moderate Syrian rebels reduce the influence of their radical counterparts? This question, which has been extensively debated by proponents and opponents of indirect military involvement in Syria, has perhaps become obsolete: backing the most pragmatic insurgent groups is what Saudi Arabia has been doing for months now, and it seems to work… Saudi Arabia does not only despise the Muslim Brothers, but political Islamic movements and mass politics in general, which it sees as a threat to its model of absolute patrimonial monarchy. Saudi policies are not driven by religious doctrines, as is too often assumed, but by concerns for the stability of the kingdom, which translate into support for political forces that are inherently conservative or hostile to Islamist movements: these forces can be apolitical Salafis aligned with the Saudi religious establishment (the Ahl al-Athar Battalions in Syria, funded from Kuwait by the quietist Heritage Association), but first and foremost non-religious forces such as the secular intellectuals and tribal chiefs Riyadh has recently backed against the Muslim Brothers and Qatar within the Syrian National Coalition. Of course, in Syria like in Egypt, these politically conservative forces also include the military. Riyadh has been the driving force behind several initiatives aimed at organizing the insurgency under the aegis of defector officers rather than of the civilian volunteers that run most Islamist groups.
Mohammed Al Attar: Al Raqqa: The reality of the military brigades, the administration of the liberated city and the revolutions to come (al-Ǧumhūrīya)
Paul Joseph Watson: Rebels Admit Responsibility for Chemical Weapons Attack (Infowars)
Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
Dave Lindorff: Obama’s Obscenities on Syria (CounterPunch)
Andre Vltchek: Syria, Prepare Yourself for Rape! (CounterPunch)
Wilhelm Langthaler: Syria: No to the US attack and continued military pressure (Anti-Imperialist Camp)
We are relieved that the imminent threat of an US aggression on Syria is preliminarily put on hold and a diplomatic channel has been opened up. But the US military power projection remains in place and the bloody civil war continues. We therefore need to continue and step up the campaign against foreign intervention and especially the western one. But at the same time we ought to help to pave the way for a transitional government fulfilling the demands of the original democratic popular movement.
Hannes Hofbauer: Wer hat hier wen ausgetrickst? (Neues Deutschland)
Der jetzt in New York vorgelegte UN-Bericht beweist: In Syrien wurde Giftgas eingesetzt. Doch von wem? Der Streit zwischen Russland und den USA über die Schuldfrage überschattet inzwischen ihre Genfer Vereinbarung. Hat die USA einen Masterplan in Sachen Syrien?
Gregory Elich: The Return of Repression. Political Firestorm in South Korea (CounterPunch)
Actions by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) have generated a political furor that is growing by the day, pitting the ruling New Frontier Party against the main opposition Democratic Party and threatening the existence of the Unified Progressive Party.
The NIS intervened in the election of December 2012 in an endeavor to bring victory to conservative candidates. NIS director Won Sei-hoon ordered the agency’s psychological warfare division to launch a campaign to discredit liberal and left political candidates.
Reza Fiyouzat, Shamus Cooke: The Egyptian Revolution’s Next Barrier (CounterPunch)
When the Egyptian army first began its offensive against the Muslim Brotherhood many speculated that such an assault would likely be extended to the same revolutionaries who demanded — in massive demonstrations — that President Morsi be evicted from office.
There have been several signs that this has already begun, though most notably the government repression against striking workers at Suez Steel and the Scimitar Petroleum company, where the striking workers were accused of being influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood…
After the fall of Mubarak, the MB hurried to join the regime that had propped up Mubarak — with all its policies, security apparatus linked to the U.S. government, with all its ties to the neoliberal agenda of the imperialists of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and western banks — in short, the MB completely immersed itself with the old regime, while slapping on a thick coat of Islamist veneer to make the surface seem “Islamic” to the MB rank and file. The rest of Egyptian society was completely ignored, revolution be damned.
Through a farce of an electoral system the MB joined the military regime — an alliance deemed necessary at the time by the ruling elites, though with clear internal contradictions — ensuring that the two maintained joint control while working to coerce the revolution into submission. All the while the broader social and economic discontent that led to the revolution would be — as it was under Mubarak — completely neglected, and even denied any legitimacy.
Alain Gresh: Egypte, chroniques d’une contre-révolution (Monde diplomatique)
Sonia Ryang: Reading Volcano Island: In the Sixty-fifth Year of the Jeju 4.3 Uprising (Japan Focus)
Denis Halliday: WHO Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq (Global Research)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.